BWT Alpine F1 Team breaks new ground as Aseel Al Hamad and Abbi Pulling become first women to drive F1 cars in Saudi Arabia
RIYADH: BWT Alpine F1 Team has pushed boundaries with a ground-breaking demonstration run around the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh.
The city witnessed a V8-powered E20 car, driven by Saudi F1 driver Aseel Al-Hamad and Alpine Academy Affiliate driver, Abbi Pulling.
The pair made history as they became the first women ever to drive an F1 car in the Kingdom.
Aseel, who represents Saudi Arabia on the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission and is a board member of the Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation, is leading the development of strategies and policies to promote the education and training of women in motorsport in Saudi Arabia.
She is also family to Alpine as she created history with the team in 2018 when she took the same E20 on track at Paul Ricard Circuit, France.
Joining Aseel for the demo was Abbi Pulling, who will compete in the W Series this year. Abbi is part of the Alpine Affiliate programme, which is the feeder series to the Alpine Academy. It nourishes young racing talent with potential all the way through to F1, with guidance on career path, media training, nutrition and psychology.
19-year-old Abbi got her first taste of F1 machinery in this demonstration run just one day before her birthday.
In an activity facilitated by the Saudi Tourism Authority, Aseel and Abbi took the E20 through some of the Kingdom’s most significant destinations, including through Wadi Hanifah in the historic city of Diriyah, which is overlooked by the UNESCO World Heritage Site At-Turaif, the original home of the Saud royal family, birthplace of the Kingdom and origin of the country’s First Saudi State, before guiding the car through the bright lights of the vibrant new King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD).
Together the two drivers demonstrated that opportunities in motorsport and the Kingdom are being created for and by women and the future looks bright for the next generation.
The Visit Saudi logos will appear on the Alpine A522 cars this weekend during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Aseel Al Hamad: “It was beautiful to drive with BWT Alpine F1 Team once again, and even more special to do this in my country of Saudi Arabia and my home city of Riyadh. I hope this inspires more generations to fall in love with Formula 1 and for more women to consider motorsport as a future career.
“I was super happy to meet Abbi, a lovely girl with lots of ambition, and an amazing passion for racing. She shows that with enough drive, girls can become professional racing drivers. It is important that we showcase examples to demonstrate to the younger generation that it can be them in the future; it doesn’t matter your gender; you need to show your talent. I will be cheering for them and opening the doors and hopefully we will see them on podiums in the near future.”
Abbi Pulling: “I got my first experience of an F1 car last weekend and it was everything I was expecting, and more. I started racing when I was just eight years old, always with the goal of reaching Formula 1, and I am so pleased to have got that little bit closer. It is very important for the industry to encourage and support young, female talents to achieve their ambitions. Programmes like the Alpine Academy coupled with demonstration runs with female racers show you have the opportunity and structure to do this. It was a pleasure to meet Aseel and to hear about all her initiatives to support young racers. It’s super encouraging for myself and the next generation.”
Laurent Rossi, CEO, Alpine: “The statement of having two women driving an F1 car through the capital of Saudi Arabia, past treasured historic monuments and into the heart of the city, shows that anyone with enough drive can follow their dreams in motorsport. Aseel shows that women of all backgrounds are welcome, while Abbi demonstrates motorsport is a genuine career path for women.
We hope that this action will inspire girls from the younger generation that anything is possible.”
Fahd Hamidaddin, Chief Executive Officer, Suadi Tourism Authority: “Saudi is a destination that is welcoming to everyone and inclusive of all. Tourism and sport are intimately connected and both offer opportunities for women to build career paths that are fulfilling and rewarding. As a father of two daughters myself, it is a pleasure to join with Alpine on this landmark initiative and inspire women
from all walks of life to follow their dreams wherever they may lead. And, more importantly, to support them in making their dreams reality.”
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